The Northern Cardinal is one of my favorite winter birds. Striking against the snow, the males with their ruby-red plumage shine like beacons on cold, blustery days. The female cardinal is less brilliant, though no less beautiful.
Drab by comparison, the female is of course better suited to sitting on a nest. The gray of her head and back feathers blend superbly with the drab colors of dead twigs and grass.
This little girl was probably born this year. Her colors are brighter and her appearance less refined some how.
It is the subtlety of the female cardinal that I find so attractive. I enjoy looking at things closely, to see those details that one misses with a casual glance, or by viewing from afar. The cracks on her beak, the tiny red feathers over her eye, the way her breast feathers overlap her wings.
On alert, her crest stands out against the drab background.
When we take the time to slow down and really look at something, we get a much clearer idea of that individual. My artwork is the same way, bringing to the subject an intimacy that one does not normally experience.
Even tiny snowflakes stand out when we look carefully and slowly.